The head of the International Energy Agency on Monday urged the United States and China to align on key issues at the COP28 climate summit later this year, warning that “geopolitical fractures” risk holding back the switch to clean energy.
“I very much hope that in the COP28 coming through, US and China, two largest emitters, would leave aside their tensions – geopolitical and economic,” Fatih Birol told Agence France-Presse in an interview on the sidelines of the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.
He called on the two global powers to “come closer” on climate.
“When I look at the future of energy and climate, I see that the best and most optimistic agenda is that clean energy is set to dominate the game,” he said.
But he said the world was moving too slowly to meet the goals to limit global warming that the international community approved in Paris in 2015.
Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said that in general international rifts, partly stoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are “becoming more and more pronounced”.
These rifts are casting a “big shadow” because “international collaboration between the major players will be much more challenging”.
The UN climate conference being held in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates in November-December is likely to be dominated by clashing visions for energy.